Santa Clara Falls After Thrilling Ninth Inning
PORTLAND, Ore. – Santa Clara (17-33; 4-16 WCC) lost a tight 2-1 game to the Portland Pilots (23-30; 10-10 WCC). There was no scoring until the ninth inning when the Broncos scored a run but Portland was able to rally for two in the bottom of the inning. J.R. Graham (3-5) took the loss while pitching 8.2 innings and allowing just two runs on six hits, while fanning four batters. Stephen Takahashi lead the offense with two hits and a RBI.
Santa Clara had runners on the corners with two outs in the top of the second inning but was unable to push across a run when Brian Roby struck out swinging to end the inning.
Portland got its first hit in the bottom of the second, a two out double to left-center by Tyler Thompson but he didn't advance.
The Broncos got two base runners on with two outs in the fifth when Roby was hit by a pitch and Takahashi hit an infield single but again the Broncos were unable to come up with the big hit.
For the second inning in a row Santa Clara got two runners after two quick outs when Pat Terry singled and Drew Ozanne drew a walk. Andrew Biancardi, who had two hits on the day, tallied an out and the game remained scoreless.
Portland had its first rally in the bottom of the sixth when Kramer Scott singled up the middle and stole second. After a groundout Turner Gill walked but Matt Mardesich grounded out to end the inning.
The Broncos looked primed to score in the top of the seventh when Roby hit a one-out double and advanced to third when Takahashi reached on a throwing error by the shortstop. Matt Ozanne hit a grounder to third that the Pilots threw home to retire Roby, who was trying to score. Lucas Herbst grounded out to end the inning.
Portland had its own chance to score in the home half of the inning. Thompson hit a one-out single and was pinch run for by Sam Westendorf who was promptly caught stealing. Brian Frattali walked and Craig Smith followed with a single but Frattali's pinch runner, Chet Thompson, was thrown out trying to advance to third to end the inning.
Biancardi lead off the top of the ninth with a single. Two batters later Roby singled through the left side. Owen Jones was lifted for Chris Dennis who gave up a single to Takahashi that plated the first run of the game. Drew Ozanne grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Gill started the bottom of the ninth with a single up the middle. After a fielder's choice on a sacrifice bunt attempt, Riley Henricks doubled to right center to tie the game at 1-1. After a wild pitch allowed Henricks to advance to third back to back walks, one intentional, loaded the bases for Portland. Smith hit a fly ball to center that let allowed Henricks to tag up and score the winning run.
Game Notes: Three Broncos had two hits apiece … Brian Roby made the start after being hit in the face on Senior Day vs. USD … Blake Leyva came into the game in centerfield for the first time in his career.